"I'm not sure it does what the president thought it would do", Thorndike said of the letter. I have no investments in Russian Federation. "I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!" he tweeted. "It's just another way to not answer the question". But borrowing money from Russian sources could mean a number of things and would not necessarily represent an "equity investment".
And, according to golf reporter James Dodson, at a golf outing at a Trump course in North Carolina three years ago, Eric Trump bragged that they had access to "all the funding we need out of Russian Federation".
Lawyers for President Donald Trump said Friday that a review of his last 10 years of tax returns did not reflect "any income of any type from Russian sources", but their letter included exceptions related to previously cited income generated from a beauty pageant and sale of a Florida estate. The letter is Trump's latest attempt to downplay allegations of the president's link to Russian Federation. The law firm did not release copies of the returns, rendering its assessment of the documents impossible to verify independently.
Obviously, the letter proves nothing, and may prompt more questions about Trump's Russian Federation ties. Namely, those exceptions are a piece of property in Florida that Trump sold for $95 million to a Russian billionaire, and $12.2 million he made from a Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013.
And while this is certainly interesting, the assurances from Trump's lawyers are hard to accept at face value.
President Trump may think that if he parcels out small portions of his tax history, the public will be satisfied enough to let the issue go away. On Tuesday, Trump fired James Comey, the Federal Bureau of Investigation director who had been leading the agency's inquiry into Russian interference in the U.S. election. "Such income would not have been separately identified as "Russian" in your books and records and therefore not separately reflected on your tax returns", the attorneys told the president in parentheses. "I don't have property in Russian Federation, and I am...in total compliance in every way". "He applied for his trademark in the country as early as 1996".
A new Dutch documentary, The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump: The Russians, profiles one Trump development in lower Manhattan where Trump's partner, Bayrock LLC, had Russian oligarch and mob ties. Trump also owes no debt to Russian lenders, the firm said. "We see a lot of money pouring in from Russian Federation".
It's safe to say today's AP report won't make the questions go away.
Trump has repeatedly denied having any investments in or ties to Russian Federation, despite statements to the contrary from himself and family members in recent years.
Trump has bucked four decades of presidential tradition in refusing to release his tax returns.
Likewise, a US business would not invest directly in a Russian entity but would likely do so through a foreign corporation.